Chopin: Etudes CD
|Listen Now with Amazon Music|
Chopin: 24 Études, Op. 10 & Op. 25
|Amazon Music Unlimited|
|New from||Used from|
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Through channelling his intelligent virtuosity toward musical ends, Murray Perahia reveals the distinctive voice of each Chopin Étude, rather than imposing a "one style fits all" aesthetic upon the music. His easy mastery of the right-hand double-note challenges of Op. 10 No. 7 and Op. 25 Nos. 6 & 8 and the taxing rotary patterns of the famous "Black Key" and "Winter Wind" études enable him to clarify their significant left-hand component. Note, too, the "Octave" étude's long-lined ebb and flow, or a sharper, more aggressive C-sharp Minor, Op. 10 No. 4, than the one Perahia recorded in the early 1990s. But his unusually brisk take on the E-flat minor (Op. 10 No. 6) trivialises the music's aching harmonic tension, and the two C Minor Études (including the "Revolutionary") are a shade inhibited compared with the unbridled bravura of the versions by György Cziffra (Philips) and Juana Zayas (Music & Arts). These quibbles, however, should not prevent piano lovers from experiencing Perahia's well-considered and superbly engineered interpretations of the oft-recorded masterpieces. --Jed Distler
There's all sorts of Chopin; he somehow seems to offer so many possibilities in his pieces for pianists to introduce their own personality that few can resist. Occasionally when you hear a performance of Chopin you know it's gone too far - the author's voice is lost behind the interpreter's: the ego has landed. But this side of the extremists there's every other degree of imposition, from the characterful insights of Artur Rubinstein or Nelson Freire, through the impetuosity of an Argerich or Pogorelich to the steely virtuosity of Kissin or Pollini, and the self-effacing thoughtfulness of Dinu Lipatti or Murray Perahia.
When it comes to Chopin's Études the field thins out a little. It's the only Chopin Rubinstein wouldn't record, although many wish he'd conquered his fear of embracing their technical challenges in front of an audience. Pollini's awesome account is still amongst the most impressive on record; fearless, imperious, a master absolutely in command of his instrument...yet it's Murray Perahia in this new recording who reveals the emotional side of these showpieces, who demonstrates to any doubters that there's music as beautiful as many other Chopin miniatures lurking in the rapids and the turbulent torrents, and that perhaps the biggest virtuosic challenge is to be able to reveal the music while making the technical difficulties melt away.
Perhaps Perahia is too focussed on the detail for some, who'd prefer more epic sweep and incandescent egotism...but don't be fooled by the relative inwardness of these readings. Perahia's never found wanting technically, and there are some jaw-dropping displays of speed and power. Its just that they're used sparingly, and in the meantime you learn more about the music than in most other recordings - this goes way deeper than shallow pyrotechnics.
It's a really fine recording as well, illuminating Perahia's performance just as he shines a light inside the Chopin Studies, seeing past the complexity to the soul beneath the surface. --Andrew McGregor
Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window
Top customer reviews
But perhaps I'm being a bit unfair to a pianist who had just recovered from a serious hand injury. This isn't playing that fails to arouse any kind of emotion. I'm actually surprised how flawlessly strong his technique is; his hand injury hasn't caused any kind of technical setbacks. And while this disc lacks throbbing excitement, it is full of hair-rising virtuosic playing--playing that pulls out lots of detail. Some of the etudes are more suited to this approach than others; Perahia's approach seems to work the best with the 5th etude, the "Black Key". The sheer thrill of hearing these etudes played with such ease makes this CD worth the listen.
So, despite its setbacks, this is a fine album. It just doesn't stand up near the top of the list of Perahia's achievements, a pianist who elsewhere sends me into raves.
Perahia, sometimes described as the poet of the keyboard, delivers a set of readings on this disc that fit that general description. One is aware of a greater use of light and shade than is often the case. He also makes use of more sparing rubato. Neither of these features is a universal element in terms of these pieces which, at base level, are studies designed to expose and remedy technical flaws.
The etudes are targeted at particular technical issues and it is therefore an implied requirement that tempo should be kept steadier than in other compositions. What Perahia has done on this recording is to broaden the focus to include other musical notions such as phrasing and touch and to do this he has been prepared to be more flexible in terms of basic tempo. Perahia has a considerable technique and that is made clear in a handful of etudes that are played quicker than usual. Thus the listener is able to accept more easily the times when slower or more varied tempi are used as there can be no doubt that such interpretive decisions have been taken regardless of technical competency.
The are other fine versions to consider of course. The Ashkenazy set is possibly the nearest to adopting the closest to the written requirements and to that he adds his own volatile temperament. His disc is available in an excellently remastered version using 24 bit technology. Pollini gives a typically brilliant version but it is arguable that his recording emphasises the aggressive side of his playing which comes over as rather unyielding - almost the opposite of Perahia. Lugansky gives a deeply satisfying account and his lays claim to being the darkest view of the pieces. His disc was awarded a prize upon first release. Finally, among this short short-list, one must not ignore Rubinstein's row of polished diamonds, best bought in his bargain box set of complete Chopin.
I would therefore suggest that this disc by Perahia is fully deserving of being considered as one of the very best available. I would not wish to be without either Lugansky or Ashkenazy either, both of whom take a straighter view of the music, one darker and one more volatile respectively. Collectors of multiple versions will want at least those three. Single disc purchasers could de completely satisfied with this disc by Perahia - or the ones by Ashkenazy or Lugansky.
Chopin's Etudes are a combination of virtuosity and lyricism. In these works Chopin pushes piano technique to the limit and it is no wonder that Liszt adored these pieces (and it's said that he sight read them) and had them in his repertoire inside a day. Perahia brings to the table a phenomenal technique and an astonishing level of understanding of the soul of Chopin. Yes, the first etude is thrown off with frightening elan - but Perahia also manages to bring to the forefront Chopin's underlying melody. And listen to the A flat etude, No 1 of the Op 25 set - here is a work of remarkable beauty but in which the harmony is formed by a myriad of arpeggiated notes. The challenge is to allow the melody to sing out from the forest of notes which form the harmonic background. And Perahia rises to the challenge like no other pianist I have listened to.
There are other great recordings of the Etudes - Pollini and Ashkenazy are both well worth having. But for musical understanding and first rate sound I believe this is now the market leader. Anyone with a passing interest in the art of the pianist will derive great joy from this work. Guaranteed.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews